(So much for fashion week…could I have been less inspired? At least I can go out with a bang.)

Last week I was standing in cubeland in Naperville, and one of the resident fashionistas exclaimed, “You have so many coats!”

Yes, my friends, the accusation is true. I am a coat whore. 

I think it started sometime when I was living in Wichita, but it really kicked in when Bobbi and I went to Paris in 2004. Since then I’ve been known to buy extra suitcases to schlep home my souvenir jackets.

I spent a fair amount of time on the streets of Paris in search of a trenchcoat, and voila! I found a minty pink one at Comptoir des Cotonniers on one of the last days of our trip.


(And I just couldn’t leave the store without a brown military jacket, too.)


Then it was on to Buenos Aires, where Kristin and I made a last-minute stop on Florida Ave in the leather shops to pick up a rabbit stole I’d been eyeing. Pretty soon the salesguy had us both in coats. And not long after that, I handed over my credit card and had them modify mine to be reversible. It was done just in time for us to snatch it and run for the airport.




Last year when Jenn and I were in Italy, we’d just gotten off the train after a cold, damp day in Viterbo when we spotted a cute clothing store next to the station. I couldn’t resist the red bow.


Last month in Breckenridge I had a chance to shop the handful of excellent boutiques on Main Street, and just as I was paying for a sweater, one of the salesgals swooped around the rack in this coat. Which I promptly bought.

trench front

trench back

The next week I saw a khaki trench hanging on the back of Kim’s office door, and despite being another brand, it was identical to the very last stitch.

On to the next category: Designer Coats I Love.

I saw this one at Krista K on Southport one day, and it was love at first sight. But not ownership at first sight — for financial reasons.


Jenn bought this one, and I’ve been salivating over it for weeks:


But I settled on this one, which I spotted at Max Mara. I dig it.


Now for the final category: Coats With Histories.

The summer after my junior year in high school, I was determined to win the Kansas State Fair 4-H Fashion Review.  After watching the event for several years and being runner-up the year prior, it became apparent to me that all you had to do was fill three criteria, and you’d be a shoo-in: (1) wear wool, (2) wear a dress and coat combination, and (3) wear a hat. Yes, I realize the hat seems absurd. But at the time, the old ladies judging the competition liked hats. And I was right — I won. (It’s interesting to note that the runner-up made a leather coat — from her prized steer. Egads.)

A couple years ago I bought new buttons for it, to replace the gold ones cleverly hidden in the photo below. They’re still sitting in my sewing box. Even a hot patent belt doesn’t quite do the trick.


When I feel like looking like a rock star, I pull on my tall boots and sassy glasses, along with this brown suede coat Mom bought when she was in college. (This was before she knew she was destined to be a farmer’s wife.)


My friend Ann always has me in mind when she’s thrift shopping in Newton. First she sent me this white wool coat, which was single-breasted and had ugly gold buttons — size 14. I replaced the buttons and pulled it over to be double-breasted. And then I saw that Banana Republic had copied me.


And finally, she sent me this Persian lamb coat. It’s rather obscure, but I think it’s fun to wear. 


So, there you have it. Nelly’s Fall 2007 Outerwear Collection. Available in a rural fire department near you.


8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    DIY said,

    The red coat will make you look fat.

  2. 3

    Heidi said,

    Nicely done. I’ve always been jealous of your ability to pick cute clothing.

    Remember the time I bought the same dress as you in black? Same shoes too?

    Also, I hope you have a fantastic birthday! Make someone take you to lunch (and dinner)so you can wear one of your coats.

  3. 4

    Trish said,

    Happy Birthday!! My birthday blessing to you: May you continue to live an exciting and adventurous life, so that I may live vicariously through it!

  4. 5

    Stacy said,

    Happy Birthday!!!

  5. 6

    DIY said,

    Ha! Happy 29th, sis.

  6. 7

    Ann said,

    Ok, so I am a day late! Happy Belated Birthday. I got the black coat with a white fur colar at the thrift! Yea!! When you are home I will make you a cute jewel for you. You can decide which you want.
    Happy Turkey Day!

  7. 8

    Pastor Tom said,

    (writing for Collette – word for word)

    “my favorite coat is Max Mara plus the vintage ones form Mim Mom & Ann”

    Collette did say, “hey, I like coats too” – I sure hope she doesn’t act on that statement!

    Pastor Tom (channeling Collette)

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